Decorated Aboriginal Traditional Boomerang

Item TB106 

This Item Sold on 15 January 2008 for $58

Similar artifacts for sale can be found on the Aboriginal Boomerangs link. 

Historical Pricing information for this item and similar artifacts can be found at: Historical Artifact Prices

This returning style boomerang with Aboriginal art decorations was made for the tourist trade by Aborigines. This is an early one. It was probably made in Queensland in the 1940s or 1950s. There is a circular mark on the reverse side that was probably made by a removed label designating this as being made by Aborigines in Queensland. This one is most likely not a true returner. It would be better to display it than to throw it. The artwork, which depicts a kangaroo, is nicely done and the paint matches natural ochre pigment colors. The grain runs along the curve of the boomerang as it is supposed to do on a real Aboriginal boomerang. The grain is also very beautiful. This boomerang is very heavy, so it is probably Black Wattle. It is in very good condition and it would make a great display. Span = 36 cm Weight = 122 gm

Australian Aborigines are well known for making boomerangs. The majority of the Aborigines had the technology to make throwsticks, or non-returning boomerangs. Only a small percentage of the tribal groups knew how to make true returners and most of these came from the eastern coastal regions of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. During the past century, the majority of the Aborigines came out of the bush and were somewhat assimilated into the European man's culture. Many Aborigines began making returning style boomerangs to sell to tourists. The earliest ones were well made out of natural timber and with the grain following the curvature of the boomerang. Today, most hardwood boomerang are cut out of a large board and the grain is usually straight and running parallel to a line spanning the tips of the blades. Boomerangs that are made with the grain following the contour of the blades are much stronger and more valuable. In addition, some boomerangs have good airfoiling. The majority do not. Most "tourist boomerangs" have painted upper surfaces that display Australian animals and decorative lines and/or geometric patterns. Most pre-contact returners have no artwork or the artwork is simple and scratched into the surface. It is easy to tell the tourist boomerang from the valuable ethnographic artifact. However, tourist boomerangs that are made properly with the grain running along the contour and with good airfoiling and art work do have good collectable value, especially if they are made by a famous Aboriginal artists, like Bill Onus or Joe Timbery.

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